Team preview: Coppin State

Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.

Updated: October 20, 2004, 4:46 PM ET
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It wasn't so long ago that Coppin State dominated the MEAC, seemingly always finishing in first place in the regular season and competing for the tournament championship. In 1997, the Eagles caught the nation's eye with a rout of SEC champion South Carolina in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and a near upset of Texas in the second round. The whole nation cheered for Fang Mitchell's club over that weekend.

But things were never that great again. Three years ago, the program hit rock bottom with a 6-23 record. Mitchell's wife passed away during that season and many believed Coppin State's best days had passed. The new programs in the MEAC, Hampton and Norfolk State, were going to replace Coppin State as the teams to beat.